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Explaining the SharePoint Development Process

The complexity of SharePoint and the way it can be integrated into other business applications means that companies should take the time to follow and understand all stages in the development process to maximise the benefits and return on investment.

Failure to do so can mean that they are risking a poor-quality deployment and a solution that does not improve business operations and in fact can lead to a loss of productivity rather than a gain.

In this overview, we outline some of the stages of the SharePoint development process and how your business can maximise return on investment and achieve maximum benefit.

Planning is key

Like all major projects, planning is the key to the success of any SharePoint deployment. We recommend breaking down the planning process into a number of stages including:

  • Goal setting – What do you want to achieve from SharePoint? How will it affect your business? By setting SMART goals and objectives at the start you have something to measure your SharePoint deployment against in the future.
  • Discovery and analysis – To really get the most out of SharePoint you need to analyse what happens now in the business so that it can be incorporated into the development process and the right SharePoint functionality can be selected at the start.
  • Design – In this stage you need to understand how your staff will use the SharePoint site as well as design how it will look and what applications will be included.
  • Deployment – Deploying a new solution or migrating from another system will rely on the data mapping work done by the team to ensure a smooth installation.
  • Customising, configuring and testing – Out-of-the-box SharePoint is a good system but adding in custom apps and configuring it for how your business works helps the development process run smoothly.
  • Training and support – Once SharePoint has been developed and deployed for your business you need to get users to accept it and use it. The more comprehensive the training and support package for them the sooner you will improve productivity.

The final thing to remember about planning your SharePoint development is that you need to continually review and adjust the system accordingly. New apps and add-ins should be deployed as and when required which will continue to improve productivity.

Set timings against objectives

We have already discussed setting SMART goals and objectives and these must have timescales set against them. There is no point going through the whole SharePoint development process just to see it fail because timings are not met.

Depending on the complexity of a project the development could take several months which can be broken into 4 phases:

  • Discovery and analysis
  • Design, deployment and customisation
  • User Acceptance Testing by key stakeholders
  • Training and ongoing support of your application

Maximising ROI from the SharePoint Development Process

Regardless of whether your business opts for an on-premises or SharePoint Online solution, you want to maximise the return on investment and this is best done through the development process rather than trying to sort it out afterwards.

As part of the process you should therefore consider the following factors:

  • Use SharePoint’s capabilities to the full – SharePoint can offer a business so much including intranet, document management systems and business intelligence so if you are looking to develop a SharePoint solution think how it could be used in the future , not just to replace what you already have.
  • Control – once you have developed and deployed SharePoint you need specialists such as the team from igroup to support you. If the system is not maintained properly it won’t work optimally with your business.
  • Remove dead sites and duplicate content – If you don’t remove old or unused content then your SharePoint deployment is going to become inefficient.
  • Set best practices – As part of your training programme you should have laid out user best practices but these need to be maintained.

SharePoint is a great way for you to improve efficiencies in your business and get staff to collaborate more closely and by paying attention to the development process you will ensure that the installation is seamless and you get maximum return on investment now and in the future.

For more information about how igroup can help your business to take advantage of SharePoint and customise it to your requirements, please contact us today on 0203 697 0302.

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